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EU code of practice against disinformation (note of progress)

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Brussels, 20 March 2019

Today the European Commission published the latest monthly reports from Google, Twitter, and Facebook, on the progress made in February towards meeting their commitments to fight disinformation. The online platforms are all signatories of the Code of Practice against disinformation and have committed to report their progress in the run up to the European Parliament elections in May 2019. The publication of the monthly reports follows a meeting yesterday afternoon between the Commission and the platforms to discuss the state of play.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel saidina joint statement:

«Yesterday’s meeting and the reports published today show that online platforms are making progress. We had good discussions with them about how they can further improve the ongoing monthly reporting requested in the Action Plan against Disinformation. Such monthly progress is needed to ensure the transparency during the election campaign.

We take note of the progress described in the February reports in a number of areas. The platforms have all confirmed that their tools for assessing the transparency of political ads will be operational in advance of the European elections in May.

This is a substantial achievement, especially in such a short time-frame, which will enhance the transparency of online paid political advertisements and ensure that voters will be reliably informed throughout the election period and beyond. We also welcome the fact that all three platforms are taking election integrity initiatives that go beyond the specific commitments set out in the Code of Practice.

However, further efforts are needed by all signatories in key areas. More systematic information is needed for the Commission to assess the efforts deployed by the online platforms to scrutinise the placement of ads and to better understand the effectiveness of the actions taken against bots and fake accounts.

We encourage online platforms to work with researchers and fact-checkers on access to live information on public pages, streams and other services, as well as on data on inauthentic accounts they have identified and removed. Such access could help to obtain a comprehensive and independent picture of disinformation patterns and trends, and should be done in full respect of the General Data Protection Regulation. Finally, we need to make sure that the tools being developed by online platforms are available in all 28 EU Member States, not only in certain Member States.» 


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